WASHINGTON — Five Patriot Advanced Capability — 3 interceptors took out four tactical ballistic missile targets in a recent test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, according to a Lockheed Martin statement released Tuesday.
Four PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) interceptors and one PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) completed the complex test.
The PAC-3 MSE intercept met a requirement that “supports” a full-rate production decision for that variant, according to the statement.
The MSE version has a larger, dual-pulse solid-rocket motor and larger control fins that double the missile’s reach and improve performance against evolving ballistic and cruise missiles.
According to Lockheed, the test “reconfirmed PAC-3 CRI and MSE’s ability to detect, track and intercept incoming missiles while meeting fielded reliability requirements.”
The U.S. Army fired the PAC-3 MSE for the first time in a successful intercept test during the summer of 2016. The MSE went up against a full-scale, air-breathing target and demonstrated the weapon’s ability to detect, track, engage and intercept an aircraft.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.